Redmi Y3 is in for review, and we put it through its paces to see if it can hold up against the competition. The Redmi series has been immensely popular for Xiaomi, so much so that the company is now positioning ‘Redmi’ as a sub-brand, similar to the way it introduced its Poco sub-brand for enthusiasts. The company recently launched the Xiaomi Redmi Y3 and Redmi 7 (Review) smartphones in India as replacements for the Redmi Y2 (Review) and Redmi 6(Review) respectively.

Xiaomi introduced the Y-series a couple of years ago targeted at the youth and selfie lovers, and the latest iteration boasts of a 32-megapixel selfie camera, which seems quite impressive for a phone that costs Rs. 9,999. However, the Redmi Y3 does have a more immediate problem to deal with first. You see, its base price is exactly the same as that of Xiaomi’s own Redmi Note 7 (Review) and the Asus Zenfone Max Pro M2 (Review) — two phones that offer vastly superior specifications compared to the Redmi Y3.

This means the Redmi Y3 ought to have some killer selfie performance to justify picking it over the obvious choices. Let’s see if its worth your while.

DESIGN

The Redmi Y3, at first glance looks a lot like the Redmi Note 7 Pro. It has a similar gradient colour design with a dual tone finish in both blue and red as well as a standard black finish. However, there are subtle differences in the design between the two. The Redmi Y3’s gradient dual tone has vertical stripes running down the rear panel with the shade of colour changing after each line. It’s also more curved around the edges and rounded in the corners. Furthermore, unlike the Note 7 Pro, the Redmi Y3 is made of polycarbonate which handles fingerprints quite fine, but retains smudges and sweat marks easily. The frame also seems to be made of plastic but with a smooth polish which lends a feeling of sturdiness. The buttons however feel wobbly and could be the first thing that stops functioning after prolonged use.

The front fascia is layered with Gorilla Glass 5 protecting the LCD display. The display itself takes up most of the real estate but leaves enough space around the edges, so it’s not particularly a bezel-less display even though the screen-to-body ratio is impressive at 86.7 percent. This is possible because of the smaller U-shaped notch that houses the front camera and other sensors leaving more space for status bar icons on top of the display.

Overall, the Redmi Y3’s design looks good but I’m afraid the gradient colour design has been done to death over the past year and soon enough, the Y3’s unique look might become mainstream.

DISPLAY

The Redmi Y3 sports a 6.26-inch IPS LCD display with only HD+ resolution. That’s a marked departure from the superior display you get with the Redmi Note 7 Pro by spending just Rs 1000 more. Phones priced above Rs 10,000 are expected to come with a fullHD display and in this regard, the Y3 disappoints. It gets more problematic when you realise the Y3 also doesn’t have the required DRM certification to stream content in HD. Instead, premium content from Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hotstar will run at 540p, marring the viewing experience even more.

While gaming, the lower resolution becomes more apparent. The texture quality of objects in PUBG Mobile come across as jagged and grainy. However, reading text and watching short videos on Facebook are a good enough experience.

The sunlight legibility is also questionable. Out in the strong sun, the Redmi Y3’s display was barely visible even at full brightness. We clocked peak brightness of 373 lux and a minimum brightness of 5 lux which is lower than what most phones in that price range scored in our tests.

The phone does give you the option to tweak the colour temperature as well as play around with display contrast. The night mode in the phone is called Reading mode and does exactly the same as other blue-light filters. You can also increase the size of the text and turn on ‘double tap to wake’ to reduce dependence on the wobbly power button.

PERFORMANCE

The Redmi Y3 is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 632. It’s Qualcomm’s most basic mid-range chipset available right now, so naturally there’s not a lot that we expect in terms of performance. Benchmark scores peg the Redmi Y3 closer to the Samsung Galaxy M20 more than the Redmi Note 7 Pro. We’re yet to benchmark the Redmi Note 7, but that phone we expect to perform better than this courtesy the Snapdragon 660. The Redmi Y3 as a result also sits below the Redmi Note 7. However, not everything is as it seems.

CPU

On CPU Benchmarks, the Redmi Y3 scores 102267 on AnTuTu while on Geekbench Single Core and Multi Core tests, the Redmi Y3 scores 1237 and 4219, both of which are slightly higher than what the Samsung Galaxy M20 achieves but much, much lower than the score of the Redmi Note 7 Pro. The CPU scores indicate the Redmi Y3 has a big improvement as compared to the Redmi Y2 which ran on the Snapdragon 625. And for good reason. The Snapdragon 632 uses custom-made Kryo 250 Gold performance cores, even though the clock speed is lower at 1.8GHz.

The CPU comprehensively indicates the Redmi Y3 is faster than the Galaxy M20.

GPU

The GPU benchmarks also follow the same narrative. The Redmi Y3 scored 951 on 3DMark SlingShot which is again higher than the Galaxy M20’s 746 but much lower than what the Redmi Note 7 Pro and the Realme 3 Pro achieves. This is again corroborated by GFXBench’s render tests where the Redmi Y3 rendered more frames than the Galaxy M20 but much lesser than the Note 7 Pro and the Realme 3 Pro.

Gaming

Surprisingly, despite scoring lower on benchmark scores as compared to the Note 7 Pro, the Redmi Y3 is surprisingly good at gaming. We clocked steady 30FPS in Asphalt 9 with 88 percent stability as compared to the paltry 22 FPS with 52 percent stability by the Redmi Note 7 Pro.

Even on PUBG Mobile, the Redmi Y3 came dangerously close to beating the Note 7 Pro with 26FPS with 98 percent stability, as compared to 30FPS by the Note 7 Pro and the Realme 3 Pro with around 96 percent stability. We used Gamebench for recording in-game statistics.

While it’s seemingly more fun to game on the Redmi Y3 based on the frame rate data, it’s worth noting that the Redmi Y3 has a 720p screen while the Note 7 Pro has a FullHD+ display. As a result, the textures of in-game objects look much better on the Note 7 Pro. The Redmi Y3 also runs PUBG Mobile in low graphics and on Asphalt 9, the poor graphics are visibly apparent.

Daily Usage

The Redmi Y3 feels quite breezy to use at first go. But after installing a few apps and stressing the phone a bit with tasks like social media browsing, watching videos and using the camera, it does slow down a bit. You won’t be able to tell it’s slow by looking at the UI though. The transitions will work just fine. However, you will notice a slight delay in bringing up the keyboard, or placing a call, or going to the Settings app and even launching apps. If you can get past it, the Redmi Y3 is a decent performer.

Software

The Redmi Y3 runs on MIUI 10 based on Android 9 Pie. You get more or less all the features that are there on the Note 7 Pro like a minus-1 screen housing all the important information, but there’s still no app drawer. The transition animations are swifter and there are deep-seated optimisations that Xiaomi claims make the phone run faster. It certainly does, but then again the processor and RAM constraints make the apps launch a little slower after prolonged use.

CAMERA

The Redmi Y3 is a selfie-centric smartphone with a 32MP front camera. On the back is a 12+2MP setup that’s akin to the Redmi 7 with f/2.2 primarily lens and 1.25um pixel pitch. What sets this apart is obviously the high-res selfie camera that’s embedded in the water-drop notch. The working of the camera is similar to the 48MP rear camera of the Redmi Note 7 Pro. The selfie camera bins four pixels into one to create one super pixel that allows for higher light sensitivity. As a result, by default your selfies will be dished out in 8MP. You can manually turn on the high-res 32MP mode as well, but we’d recommend you to stick to the default 8MP mode.

BATTERY

The Redmi Y3 features the same 4,000mAh battery as the Redmi Note 7 Pro and the Redmi 7. It seems like a high-capacity battery is becoming a standard in all Redmi phones this year. As a matter of fact, the same battery on the Redmi Y3 lasts a little longer than the Note 7 Pro.

In our Geekbench battery test, the Redmi Y3 managed to last 693 minutes which should ensure the phone lasts well over a day of usage. PUBG Mobile itself drained the battery by around 5 percent after 15 minutes of play, while 30 minutes of streaming Mirzapur on Amazon Prime Video took up around 10 percent of charge.

Charging the battery, however, took up a lot of time despite Xiaomi offering a 10W fast charger. It takes around two hours to fully top up the battery which might be a problem if you have to charge in the middle of the day, but given the day-long battery life, a top-up at night should be enough to push through the entire day.

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